Immigrant political participation is associated with more positive majority immigration attitudes across European countries and Swiss cantons

New article on immigrant political participation in Europe and Swiss cantons published online Comparative Migration Studies

Immigrants are increasingly participating in politics, publicizing their political concerns and contributions. How does such political participation relate to national majorities’ immigration attitudes? Previous research suggested potential improvement of majority attitudes but also demonstrated the exacerbation of perceived threat. We investigated whether greater immigrant political participation is related to more positive or negative immigration attitudes among majority members. We implemented a crossnational and a cross-cantonal multilevel study drawing on the European Social Survey, the Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey and the Swiss Migration-Mobility Survey with 43,632 participants in 26 European countries in Study 1 and with 1058 participants in 19 Swiss cantons in Study 2. Overall, higher levels of immigrant political participation were related to more positive attitudes. This association between participation and attitudes was stronger among left-wing than among right-wing nationals. Finally, we found no evidence that larger immigrant groups’ participation evoke threat and exacerbate attitudes. We conclude that immigrant political participation is associated with more positive majority attitudes.


  • Judit Kende, Social Psychology Group, University of Lausanne & Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands
  • Julia Reiter, Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  • Canan Coskan, Independent Researcher, Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany
  • Bertjan Doosje, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherland
  • Eva Green, Social Psychology Group, University of Lausanne